How Garage Squad Rescued an Entire Genre of Television

There was a time when you could spot a motorhead by their grease-stained hands that no amount of pumice could ever scrub clean. These were doers who refused to cut corners and had little patience for nonsense. They were the best at what they did, and the reason we drove past so many other shops to get to theirs.

With the advent of automotive television fueling today’s car obsessed culture, there’s no shortage of daily programming to appeal to the masses. Not unlike those shops we drove past years ago though, not every program is worthy of your repeat business.

The Garage Squad is on a mission – to rescue killer cars and trucks and bring them back from the great beyond. But there’s more than meets the eye… Under the hood of every Garage Squad rescue, you’ll find a heartbeat.

Gearing up for its sixth season on Velocity television, Garage Squad offers none of the foolish drama while providing perhaps the most important ingredient to viewership, the possibility of rescuing YOUR vehicle.

According to the show’s executive producer Matt Burnett, the idea behind the program was simple. “What inspired us to start the show is what inspires us now – the people we meet, the personal stories behind the vehicle and why they need our help to get these cars and trucks road ready.”

With Garage Squad, chances are you won’t find a one-of-a-kind muscle car behind the closed door needing to be rescued, but what you will find are examples like the one sitting in your own garage. Real, relatable and possibly just beyond your financial or mechanical means.

Family workhorse or classic muscle car, Garage Squad breathes new life into your family treasure.

“Being picked for Garage Squad is a little bit like winning the lottery,” says Burnett. ”The show and our great sponsors cover all the parts and labor with the owner asked only to get dirty and help with the build.”

Getcha’ some of that!

Submitting your ride is essential if you’re in need of rescue, says the crew. “We have a lot of people hit us up on social media, in person at restaurants, and sometimes in the men’s room to submit their car… But the only way to do it is through our website.”

Classic iron to modern muscle, Garage Squad's crew will have your ride back on the road in no time.

While other programs may focus on rarity and profit potential, the Squad says their selection process remains the same. “It’s got to kick-ass, or have the potential to kick-ass” says Burnett, but the story behind the car is the most important thing when it comes to choosing the projects we take on.”

The notification process begins with a phone call to the owner where production gets a feel for the car, the condition, what’s been done and when, and any expectations for the build.

“The build is always a team decision,” says Matt. “Joe, Bruno and Heather lead the team but everyone, including the owner, has a voice. That’s the beauty of our squad – everyone brings something unique to the table.”

Whether behind the scenes or in front of the camera, priority one is YOUR car!

Realizing the Dream

As you would expect, timing plays a large role in project commencement, which  can range from a matter of weeks after initial notification, up to 6-7 months.  Says Burnett, “ There’s a lot of logistics to get the squad, our camera crew and everyone involved all in the same place at the same time.”

The crew says they try to plan it out as much as possible, “but we’ve definitely walked into some big surprises, both good and bad.”

One thing that remains steady, however, is the team you see onscreen is the team that works on all of the builds. “There’s no crew or other mechanics who come in when the cameras are off,” says Burnett.

“It takes a team to make your dreams a reality,” says executive producer Matt Burnett. “Without the dedication of our sponsors and everyone at Garage Squad we couldn’t do what we do.”

Keeping within its viewers expectations, Garage Squad focuses on doing what can be done in the owner’s garage in a weeks time. “But there are times when we’ve been up against a deadline to wrap up for a special occasion or a certain date on the calendar with special meaning,” adds Burnett.

“Our team is on location for about a week, but it really depends on the scope of the project, and how good the local restaurants are,” says the squad with a laugh, “but  for those special builds we’ve certainly pulled some all-nighters.”

You may find a cow, but you’ll find no manufactured drama or shenanigans here. Just a team determined to get your ride back where it belongs. On the road.

For each person GS viewers see on screen, there’s dozens more behind the cameras making the show happen. From kicking off projects to post-production getting the episode ready to air, Burnett credits a dedicated and incredible team who captures it all.

"Being entrusted with someone else's dream is a big responsibility" says Burnett. "We'll work from morning 'till night to make their dream a reality."

“Ultimately without viewers tuning in and submitting their stories, we’d all be at home knocking around our garages, changing our own oil,” concedes Matt.

To keep the concept fresh, Burnett says they are always working with the team to find compelling stories and amazing rides to rescue.

As for what’s next, Barnett says currently the entire crew is very active with charity and community automotive events but adds, “we’re always working to connect with our viewers with new ideas including the possibility of a rescue near you!”


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About the author

JP Emerson

My affliction with vintage iron is matched only by my knowledge of classic Rock ’N Roll. Although a heavy lean to all things Ford blue, I have a sharp appreciation for all makes and models, especially those that gulp gas and drop oil to mark their territory. Having provided work for multiple magazines, manufacturers, SEMA, and a top secret list of celebrity and auto insiders, I understand the bond between cars and owners.
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